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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

Concert preview: Helen Sung at the Gilmore Piano Festival

Jazz artist Helen Sung
Joseph Boggess
Jazz artist Helen Sung

Helen Sung, a classically trained pianist who turned to jazz, says she chose music to begin with because she sensed she would "never get to the bottom of it." It's still true, she says in a conversation with Cara Lieurance before her appearance at the Gilmore Piano Festival.

Sung talks about her time at the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz, where she was one of seven young musicians receiving training from jazz mentors of great stature, including Ron Carter, Jimmy Heath, and Clark Terry. She recently paid tribute to them by recording a forthcoming album of compositions for big band called Jazz Portraits. For Sung, jazz is one of the most generous and honest of art forms, "because it asks of me, just who are you, and what do you have to say, and what do you want to say?"

Helen Sung, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Adam Cruz will perform at 12 pm on Wednesday, May 8 at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre Auditorium. More information is at the Gilmore Piano Festival website.

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.